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No. 1 (November 2018) Special Issue on Sustainable Data-driven City Management

Vol. 13 No. 1 (November 2018)

Smart city solutions, designed to resolve a wide range of social issues in cities through digital transformation, is on the verge of entering into a new era with cross-domain data utilization set to become the mainstream approach for achieving overall optimization.
NEC possesses a portfolio of advanced digital technologies, including data utilization platform, AI, network, and security, to enable cross-domain data utilization.
To accelerate implementation, NEC is also working in collaboration with municipalities, local companies, and citizens to resolve local issues, promote economic growth, and create sustainable communities.
In this special issue, we outline the new direction in which smart city initiatives are heading, the solutions that NEC is providing in Japan and around the world, and the city management technologies platform upon which NEC will bring solutions to fruition.

Special Issue on Sustainable Data-driven City Management

Remarks for Special Issue on Sustainable Data-driven City Management

Executive Vice President

Start-up of Data Utilization-type Smart Cities

Senior Vice President

Efforts to create smart cities, aimed at solving social issues through digital transformation, have entered a new era. While the early smart cities focused on laying out the systems for each field, such as energy and traffic, and on data utilization within each of these fields, the smart cities to come will primarily deal with cross-domain data utilization to address social issues with a view to total optimization. This paper gives an overview of the development state of data utilization-type smart cities by discussing the trends in smart cities headed in a new direction and some solution examples NEC is working on in Japan and abroad, as well as introducing the city management technologies which form the foundation of the solutions.

Vision for Data-driven City Management

Global Perspective for Data-Leveraged Smart City Initiatives


This paper gives an outlook of recent smart city activities in Europe and North America which leverage interchange and utilization of cross-sector data. In these regions, cities are now focused on achieving digital transformation of the city management after experiencing many challenges in the earlier smart city efforts. And now the goal for the smart city has become to build a more sustainable and citizen-centric community via cross-cutting, problem-solving, and flexible approach. Such an innovation agenda calls for an open and agile nature for the data exchange platform and an EU-originated open source software called FIWARE, which is rapidly gaining its visibility as the de-facto standard smart city IoT platform, is highlighted. Furthermore, some important clues in achieving digitalization of cities, including non-technical aspects, are also discussed.

A Paradigm Shift in City Management Practices Targets the Sustainable Society


In Japan, which is faced with an aging society ahead of the rest of the world, achieving a sustainable society by overcoming the shortage of social security resources in the future is the biggest challenge. The country now needs to review city management practices that have continued to be used since the high growth period by aiming to bring about a transformation. This will be a radical paradigm shift from the former hard infrastructure (the type of social infrastructure composed of concrete), to the flexible and adaptable infrastructure (one that focuses on the utilization of data). In order to advance such a transformation, the application of digital measures will not in itself be enough. It will also be required to achieve a regional co-creation policy that sounds more like analog measures. Japan, as forerunner of finding answers to emerging issues, must succeed in creating social infrastructure via new concepts that are capable of resolving this hard-to-solve social issue. The results are then expected to contribute to worldwide improvements.

Demonstration and Implementation Examples of Data-driven Smart Cities

Case Study of Data-driven City Management in Cities Abroad

LEE Juhan, KUKITA Shinya

The concept of adopting corporate management techniques for city management is starting to gain momentum. To ensure better, more enriched lives for citizens, we must constantly invest in innovation to increase efficiency on a sustainable basis. Trials are underway to effectively utilize existing data to enhance city management. NEC is harnessing its technologies and solutions in initiatives to realize sustainable city management in several European cities. This paper provides a summary of NEC's Cloud City Operation Center (CCOC) as a solution to achieve the aforementioned objective, and presents use cases demonstrating how this solution is being adopted in cities abroad that are striving to become smart cities.

Building a Common Smart City Platform Utilizing FIWARE (Case Study of Takamatsu City)

ISHII Kazuhiko, YAMANAKA Atsushi

As part of its effort to implement the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications' proposal for "Promoting Data Utilization-Oriented ICT Smart Cities" the City of Takamatsu is the first organization in Japan to adopt the FIWARE platform — a common platform that makes it possible for ordinary citizens and businesses, as well government and municipal organizations, to freely access and use public data. Specifically, Takamatsu City has built a system that leverages the power of advanced IoT technology to collect, store, visualize, and analyze data in the fields of disaster management (coping with as a large-scale disaster) and tourism (promotion of sightseeing and MICE), which are both considered as a high priority. In this case study, we will examine in detail the common platform introduced to Takamatsu City and how the city utilizes data in the disaster-management and tourism fields.

Initiatives to revitalize regional economies by advancing "OMOTENASHI" — Hospitality offered to foreign visitors to Japan


Robust consumption by foreign visitors to Japan contributes to and is considered to be an essential input for the revitalization of our regional economies. In this paper we introduce several support solutions applied by NEC. These are 1) An advanced urban service system that aims to provide meticulous "OMOTENASHI" hospitality to each and every foreign visitor, and 2) A transportation and sightseeing services system for visitors that is provided via collaboration between local enterprises. We aim to contribute to the comprehensive development of cities by promoting cross-industry and community collaboration, and thereby increase the inflow of domestic and foreign tourists and enhance tourism consumption.

Case Studies of Data Utilization by Municipal Governments: Applying Data in Various Fields Such as Financial Affairs, Childcare, and Community Revitalization


Throughout Japan, municipal governments are required to implement the Comprehensive Strategy for Revitalizing Towns, People and Work. To ensure efficient and carefully planned management of policies and projects in areas such as financial affairs, childcare, and community revitalization, a new methodology for policy-making that derives insights from data collected from various sources needs to be examined and established. In this paper, we describe the actions undertaken by Okazaki City and Mito City in pursuit of this goal.

City Management Technologies

FIWARE, Information Platform for Implementing Data Utilization Based City Management


The enforcement of the Basic Act on the Advancement of Public and Private Sector Data Utilization in 2016 in Japan is expected to promote the use of the data possessed by national and local governments as well as private businesses in solving urban issues. However, there is no mechanism in place to distribute the utilized data, and this is developing into a growing issue. To address this issue, NEC has begun participating in the development of the FIWARE architecture since 2011. FIWARE is a platform developed and implemented to promote data utilization and service linkage across the boundaries of local governments and enterprises providing public services in Europe. Involvement in the project has allowed NEC to verify the quality of the platform for use in city management and businesses, leading to the launch of a security-enhanced platform service utilizing FIWARE.

FogFlow: Orchestrating IoT Services over Cloud and Edges

TERASAWA Kazuyuki, HADA Tooru, TAKEUCHI Mamoru

Nowadays IoT infrastructure providers for smart city, smart industry, and connected vehicles are facing huge complexity and cost to manage their geo-distributed infrastructures for supporting various IoT services, especially those that require low latency. FogFlow is a distributed execution framework to dynamically orchestrate IoT services over cloud and edges, in order to reduce internal bandwidth consumption and offer low latency. By providing automated and optimized IoT service orchestration with high scalability and reliability, FogFlow helps infrastructure providers to largely reduce their operation cost. FogFlow also provides a data-centric programming model and a development tool chain for service developers and system integrators to quickly realize IoT services with low development cost and fast time-to-market. This has been proven in the labs as well as in real smart city projects done by NEC Solution Innovators.

Security Requirements and Technologies for Smart City IoT

SASAKI Takayuki, MORITA Yusuke, KOBAYASHI Toshiki

While the Smart City enables efficient City management, it involves the risk that the system may be targeted by cyberattacks. This paper deals with the security requirements necessary for secure smart city management and the security functions needed to meet them. In addition, considering the features of Smart City IoT that handles a variety of data and installs devices throughout the streets, this paper also explains that the security requirements specific to the Smart City IoT should satisfy a flexible information distribution control and support the protection of the IoT devices. Furthermore, this paper discusses technologies for meeting such requirements (Secure data distribution platforms and anti-tamper mechanisms of the IoT devices).

European Trends in Standardization for Smart Cities and Society 5.0

FROST Lindsay, BAUER Martin

In Japan, the trend towards Society 5.0 — the information society — has been identified. The digitalization of production, distribution and even consumption of goods and services creates value in the digital economy. The knowledge processing (including artificial intelligence and machine learning) that is needed for services, based on collection and combination of information from many different sources, requires that its metadata (quality of information, source, licensing and usage rights, including for personal/private information) is known. There are many hundreds of relevant standards and reference is made here to surveys. In the European standards group ETSI ISG CIM, an open API known as NGSI-LD is being developed for interchange of this information, and co-operations with many other standards bodies are helping achieve interoperability with IoT platforms, mobile Apps, legacy databases and linked open data systems.

City Evaluation Index Standards and their Use Cases

YAMADA Toru, NOZAWA Yoshiaki, MOTONAGA Kazuhiro, SERIZAWA Masahiro

One of the critical goals of city management is to improve a city's values while achieving sustainable growth. In order to improve a city's values an objective evaluation for identifying its current status is required. Several international standardization organizations have therefore developed evaluation indices from various viewpoints. This paper introduces some city evaluation index standards and their actual use cases and discusses how NEC's smart city products can contribute to city values improvements from the viewpoint of city evaluation index standards.

Co-creation with Local Communities

An Introduction to "Partnership for Smart City Takamatsu" as a Platform to Engage in Local Co-creation Activities

OGA Satoru, KOBAYASHI Keisuke

In October 2017, "Partnership for Smart City Takamatsu" was founded in Takamatsu City, Kagawa Prefecture to provide a positive environment for community co-creation. The Council hopes to achieve a "smart city" by utilizing various data inputs to incentivize the movement of people, things, and information throughout the city, encouraging reciprocal cooperation between local communities, generating innovation and promoting synergy effects. In this paper, the Council is regarded as a platform to encourage open innovation, and we describe its role in smoothing the flow of ideas whose emergence, selection, and practice can lead to innovation.

Launch of Setouchi DMO — A Co-Creation Venture That Goes beyond the Conventional ICT Framework

KODA Takuya, KITAWAKI Sachiko, FUKAZAWA Katsuyuki

Destination management/marketing organizations or DMOs are one of the hottest new concepts in the tourism industry in Japan. Focusing on promoting a community as both an attractive travel destination and an exciting place to live and work, DMOs play a critical role in community revitalization efforts. With these goals in mind, the seven prefectures surrounding Japan's Seto Inland Sea joined together to establish Setouchi DMO. NEC was brought in right at the inception and has since played a prominent role in moving this project forward. By getting involved in the local communities and staying in close touch with residents, we have gained a deeper understanding of local issues, enabling us to implement business creation activities more attuned to community needs. This paper looks at our new commitment to community co-creation projects, which provide us with an opportunity to work closely with local communities to achieve a collaborative vision, combining our expertise and technology with the organization's assets to go beyond the conventional framework of value provision that ICT has traditionally been capable of offering.

Community Co-creation Based on a Comprehensive Cooperation Agreement


As our rapidly evolving world throws up a dizzying array of new challenges, communities across Japan are struggling to cope with a broad range of complex issues. To support these communities, NEC is promoting community co-creation through a comprehensive cooperation agreement with local stakeholders — and by actually working with them on-site — in order to identify issues and potential values and enable the community to achieve its desired goals on a medium to long term basis. In this paper, we will illustrate NEC's efforts in this area by examining projects based on a comprehensive cooperation agreement undertaken in collaboration with local universities and municipalities staff members introducing the case studies in the Asahikawa area on Japan's northern Hokkaido island and Kamakura City in Kanagawa Prefecture.

A Common-Sense Approach to the Future — Study Group for Co-creation of New Municipal Services

SATO Hiroshi, FUJIKAWA Naoko, TANNO Chieko, KISHI Kana

Over the past few years, the acceleration of various trends has begun to put increasing stress on public services in Japan. From sky-rocketing social security costs due to a rapidly aging population and a plummeting birth rate to depopulation in rural areas caused by overconcentration in the Tokyo metropolitan area, Japan's small towns are facing an ever more challenging future. At the same time, struggling municipalities must cope with newly introduced national policies such as the "My Number" identification system and "digital government." All of this has necessitated planning and policy-making for new municipal services (digital transformation in municipal administration) that are different from the conventional services traditionally provided by municipalities. To help solve these issues, the Study Group for Co-creation of New Municipal Services was set up in cooperation with NEC. In this paper, we look at how the study group utilized NEC's technology and know-how to take on the challenges faced by municipal governments around Japan.

General Papers

Spin-Current Thermoelectric Conversion — Informatics-Based Materials Development and Scope of Applications

SAWADA Ryohto, KIRIHARA Akihiro, SHIRANE Masayuki

Since the energy conversion technology that makes use of a new physical property called the spin current was reported in 2008, conversion efficiencies have been improved significantly, being helped by the discovery of new materials. This improvement has been backed not only by the accumulation of discoveries of new materials and mechanisms but more importantly, by efforts aimed at improving the efficiencies of materials development processes by taking a completely new approach. This paper introduces the creation of a new materials development process that combines an attempt at large-scale data acquisition in the field of materials development and an informatics approach for analyzing the acquired data by using machine learning. The potential benefits of its utilization are also discussed. In addition, the paper discusses the application domains of the spin-current thermoelectric conversion technology that are currently being put into practical use.

Reducing the Power Consumption and Increasing the Performance of IoT Devices by Using NanoBridge-FPGA

SAKAMOTO Toshitsugu, MIYAMURA Makoto
BAI Xu, SUGIBAYASHI Tadahiko, TADA Munehiro

The NanoBridge-FPGA, a field programmable gateway array incorporating NEC's original NanoBridge metal atom migration-type switch, offers higher power efficiency and faster processing speed while achieving excellent durability against radiation and high temperature. That combination of reduced power consumption and increased performance makes the NanoBridge-FPGA suitable for application in a wide spectrum of fields. Featuring higher power efficiency than a CPU, an FPGA is a group of integrated circuits that facilitate hardware (circuit configuration) switching using semiconductor switches and memory modules. The new NanoBridge FPGA ramps up that power efficiency of the FPGA by replacing these semiconductor switches and memory modules with the space-saving NanoBridge. This paper discusses the operating principle of the NanoBridge, the internal construction of the NanoBridge-FPGA, and compares its performance with commercially available FPGAs.

Development of Nano-carbon Materials for IoT Device Applications

YUGE Ryota, IHARA Kazuki, NUMATA Hideaki, NIHEY Fumiyuki

NEC Corporation is the originator of the carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and carbon nanohorn aggregates (CNHs) of representative nanomaterials. CNTs show either metallic or semiconducting properties that depend on differences in the arrangement of carbon hexagons. The thin film transistors that utilize the semiconducting CNTs are expected to extend application in the electronics domain. The CNHs have a high specific surface area and feature high dispersion and they are expected to be applicable to energy devices such as capacitor and fuel cell electrodes. More recently, NEC Corporation has discovered the carbon nano-brush (CNB), which is attracting much interest because it possesses the excellent properties both of the CNTs and the CNHs. This paper introduces NEC Corporation's current nanocarbon materials developments.

Proof of Concept of Blockchain Technology in the Field of Finance Using Hyperledger Fabric 1.0

TORIYAMA Shinichi, OKABE Tatsuya, TANAKA Shuntaro, KANEKO Yusuke

A blockchain is a distributed ledger system that allows the participants to share and record data without using a centralized management system. This paper introduces a PoC that was performed through inter-company collaboration operations in order to verify the applicability of blockchain to the IT systems of financial institutions with high system requirements for quality. The results have proven that Hyperledger Fabric 1.0, which was the blockchain platform adopted in the PoC, can meet many system requirements for operability/maintainability and security, but also that, it still has some issues that need to be addressed, such as resistance to falsification and implementation of a cryptography function.

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